George Muller’s Secret to Prayer and Preaching

george_mullerMuller: [That] thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditating upon it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord…. The first thing I did (early in the morning), after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious word, was, to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my soul.  The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer…. With this mode I have likewise combined the being out in the open air for an hour, an hour and a half, or two hours before breakfast, walking about in the fields, and in the summer sitting for a little on the stiles, if I find it too much to walk all the time.  I find it very beneficial to my health to walk thus for meditation before breakfast, and am now so in the habit of using up the time for that purpose, that when I get in the open air, I generally take out a New Testament of good-sized type, which I carry with me for that purpose, besides my Bible: and I find that I can profitably spend my time in the open air, which formerly was not the case for want of habit…. The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time…. But what was the result?  I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of the soul, etc; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then really began to pray.  I scarcely ever suffer now in this way.  For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word. It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point.

Gavin Kirkham concerning Muller: In his public ministry, he is emphatically a teacher, yet he frequently brings in the way of salvation, in a clear, sweet, persuasive manner.  Preachers may learn from his method of preaching.  He first of all gets a message from the Lord: that is he waits upon the Lord, by reading the Scriptures, meditation, and prayer, till he realizes that he has the mind of the Spirit as to what he shall say.  He has sometimes been in doubt till almost the last minute, but never once has the Lord failed him.  he strongly advocates and practices expository preaching.  Instead of a solitary text detached from its context, he selects a passage, it may be of several verses, which he goes over consecutively clause by clause.  His first care is to give the meaning of the passage, and then to illustrate it by other Scriptures and then to apply it.  This is done sentence by sentence, so that it is definition, illustration, and application all the way through it.  Yet there is no uncertainty to his hearers as to when he is coming to a close, as he intimates at the outset how many verses he purposes to consider.  His illustrations are occasionally taken from history, biography, or nature, but chiefly from Scriptures or his own personal experiences.  One of the most striking things about Mr. Muller’s preaching is the way in which he induces his hearers to reconsider what has already been said.  He frequently says: ‘Let us ask ourselves, Have I understood this?  How does it apply to me? Is this my experience?’

Quoted in Roger Steer, George Muller: Delighted in God, 91-2, 172-3.

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Filed under Applied Theology, Bible, Christian Living, Christian Thinking, Church History, God, Prayer, Preaching, Sermon Prep, Theology, Worship

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